Mississippi Grind (2015)

Gerry (Ben Mendelsohn) is the type of guy who has his life fall apart because he is addicted to gambling. He loses his daughter, his home, and even his marriage. He is constantly behind and always owes people money. He has to pay off all of his debts, but he still goes out an gambles everyday. While at a blackjack table, he meets Curtis (Ryan Reynolds). Curtis is a real jokester and he and Gerry become very close after he buys him a drink at the table. Curtis sees that Gerry is the type of guy who he can go out and party with and also go gamble with. However, while on the road at a huge gambling event in Mississippi, Gerry and Curtis start to run into some problems with each other, especially when they are losing. It all goes down hill for them there because they are still two degenerate gamblers who do not know when to get out.

First off, this is a gambling movie that is a boatload of fun to watch. Going into this movie I was a tad bit skeptical given what it was about, but I am very glad that this movie did not disappoint.  The greatest thing about this film is the character development. They really go int depth on the personal lives of Gerry and Curtis, which is something that I really like to see in a film. Mississippi Grind is one of the better films about gambling that is out there. It was great to see the troubles of an addicted gambler and how they absolutely cannot stop going to the race track and the casino. Mississippi Grind does a really good job of showing how these two cannot overcome their addiction and what it does to their lives.

The acting in this is pretty great, which really surprised me. I usually feel like it is hit or miss with Ryan Reynolds, especially after the last few films that he has made, including Self/Less. I do however, feel that he really did an outstanding job with this and he ended up being your favorite character throughout the entire film. The same goes for Ben Mendelsohn. I’ve never been his biggest fan either, but he showed that he can really act when he is in his right element. Mendelsohn has never really showed me anything from his work that has really intrigued me. i have heard he is good in Netflix’s new show, Bloodline, but I have not seen that yet.

What you get from Mississippi Grind is a really fun and energetic movie about the struggles of gambling and what they can do to you as a human being. When watching this film, you really find yourself becoming very engaged and never bored. There is constant entertainment in this and really never a dull moment. I think that all of the credit for this goes to Mendelsohn and Reynolds because with their outstanding chemistry together, they provide a movie that is well worth watching. This is a smaller release that many people may not have heard of from 2015, but you should definitely check this out.

Overall, Mississippi Grind provides a large amount of entertainment and a really cool and fun story. With fantastic performances from Reynolds and Mendelsohn, Mississippi Grind does everything it can to impress you.

Grade: B

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99 Homes (2015)

A desperate construction worker, Dennis Nash (Andrew Garfield) is really trying to make ends meat to support his son, Connor (Noah Lomax) and mother, Lynn Nash (Laura Dern). Nash is a construction worker who has been in-and-out of work all the time due to a poor economy. After several warnings of repossession, a sketchy real estate broker by the name of Rick Carver (Michael Shannon) shows up at the Nash home with police officers informing them that they must vacate the premises because the home now belongs to the bank. After being escorted off the property, Nash has no idea what he is going to do. He has no money, no job, and he has to take care of his son and mother. After a few days, Nash finally finds a job with Carver where he will have to do exactly what Carver does, even if that means cheating the government, which could very likely put him in prison for a long time, destroying people’s lives, and having his son and mother resent him as a person.

The is one that I have been looking forward to seeing for a while. I have never seen anything that director, Ramin Bahrani made prior to this film, but I may actually want to check them out now. I was really happy with the turnout of this movie. I think that it had a great story, great acting, directing and even went into character development. 99 Homes also teaches you some lessons in life that there are a lot of hardships in life and things like this can actually happen. This is just a really exciting and thrilling drama that often makes you feel bad for people, but love the people who are on the other end of this doing the illegal work. What I really liked about this is that we see Nash go from completely desperate when he loses his home, to greedy and unable to stop what he’s doing because he wants more.

The acting is what really made this movie better than good. Andrew Garfield gives a fantastic performance in this and he is someone who we know is capable of doing great things, but we often forget about him due to the amount he is actually in. He is someone who I think is capable of having an Oscar nomination in the near future. Another great thing about this movie is the outstanding performance from Michael Shannon. He has been in a lot of movies as of late and I think he has only gotten stronger as an actor in his career. He definitely stole the show on this now. Even the small amount that Laure Dern was in this, she was pretty good. She is generally good in everything she is in, so I kind of expected this.

99 Homes is pretty much a thriller and not a serious drama. There are a few scenes in this movie that will have your heart racing. There was even a lot of character development in this movie that sparked my interest. From the beginning, they really went deep into how Nash and his family live their lives and the hardships they faced all the time and they did the same with Carver. 99 Homes is definitely a movie that I think a lot of people will find to be good. This is a really good thriller that has you not knowing how things are going to work out for Nash. The entire movie is almost like watching a close sports game and you are down to the final two minutes.

Overall, 99 Homes is a crazy thriller with some triumphant performances and an interesting premise. This is one I recommend checking out.

Grade= B+

 

Fantastic Four (2015)

Growing up as a geek in school, Reed (Miles Teller) has always been interested in science and what he can do with it to make a serious impact on life. Now he is in high school and he finally gets his chance to show some people at his science fair what it is he is trying to do. After doing something pretty unbelievable, Dr. Franklin Storm (Reg E. Cathy) asks Reed if he would be interested in a full scholarship and coming to work for him. This offer is way too good to be passed up. Reed then teams up with Dr. Storms two children, Johnny (Michael. B. Jordan) and Sue (Kate Mara). Then there is also the help of Reeds buddy. Victor (Toby Kebbell). After working on a huge operation for some time, the four of them finally get their machine working and then something goes horribly wrong. All of them have something strange about them that is pretty unexplainable. This is something that will absolutely be stuck with them for the rest of their lives and together, they will be fantastic!

Some time has passed that this movie came out and I have been extremely hesitant of checking it out. Yes, I am a huge fan of Marvel movies, but with this one, I don’t really know what happened. Even with a promising cast, this movie still needed a lot of help, but before I get to the negative, let me first talk about the positive of this movie. About the first hour of this movie I really did not have any complaints about this movie. I thought it kicked off strong and was going to deliver another awesome Marvel flick, but sadly after the first hour, it turned to, pardon my language, shit! It took a turn for the worst and completely destroyed any hope that this movie actually had.

The acting was honestly not too bad in the movie, but it went nowhere and just got completely ridiculous and stupid. Miles Teller was fine in this. He is actually one of the big up-and-coming actors in my opinion. I think that he is capable of a lot and he is someone who we should look out for. Kate Mara has definitely been in the game for a while ever since she was a supporting cast member of Netflix’s original series, House Of Cards. It does seem like she chooses some bad movies though. She was fine in this, as well as the rest of the cast. I really can’t complain about them, but the movie itself just was awful.

This movie started off so strong and then had a disappointing last hour. It absolutely could not finish in the way we all wanted it to and hoped it would. This is a movie that without-a-doubt should be entertaining its audience from start to finish, but it could not do that. This movie needs a different director to help out because with such a good cast there is no reason it should suck as much as it does. To be brutally honest, it actually turns into a compete trainwreck that everyone was expecting. All the interesting stuff goes away after the first hour and then we are left with pure boredom and no entertainment or awesomeness at all. This is one you can absolutely skip and is very disappointing for all Marvel fans.

Overall, Fantastic Four is a complete travesty that even the strong cast could not help. This movie needed so much help and is one that I was horribly disappointed by.

Grade= D

Jurassic World (2015)

Here’s something that I’ve been waiting fourteen years for! We fast forward twenty-two years after the incidents that occurred at Jurassic Park. Now we have, Jurassic World! Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) is the person who is in charge of making sure everything is running smoothly with the theme park. Jurassic World is not exactly creating the revenue Claire hoped for, so now the park needs something new. A new dinosaur is in the process of growing and it is called the Indominus Rex. It is around Christmas time and Claire has not seen her nephews in a very long time, so they come to pay her a visit on Isla Nublar. Gray and Zach (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) arrive at the park hoping to have a nice and fun time. After something goes horribly wrong with the Indominus Rex and it escapes out of captivity, the park needs to be evacuated, but Gray and Zach are left in the middle of an attraction not knowing anything is going on. Claire needs to go out in the middle of the park and find them. This is where things get extremely chaotic. Claire obviously can’t do this alone, so she does this with the help of Raptor trainer, Owen (Chris Pratt).

I absolutely could not wait to see this movie. Every since I found out that this was being made, this was the number one movie I wanted to see. Growing up I was and currently am a huge fan of Jurassic Park. I don’t even know how to start with this one. I tried to go into this with not all that high expectations and I am very glad I didn’t because I liked this a lot more than I thought I would. Let’s face it, it was going to be damn-near impossible to beat the first one, but Jurassic World is definitely a movie that provides us with more than enough entertainment and is absolutely the summer blockbuster that everyone has been waiting for. If you are a Jurassic Park fan, then hold onto you seats and sit back and enjoy this ride.

The acting in this is pretty good for the most part. After the lovable and powerhouse performance from Chris Pratt in Guardians Of The Galaxy, it only makes sense that he would be one of the leads in this movie. As funny as he was in NBC’s sitcom, Parks And Recreation, I think Pratt really found his role in movies like this. Bryce Dallas Howard really didn’t impress me all that much, besides the fact that she is smoking hot. I don’t really think there was anything wrong with her performance, but I think that someone else would have fit the role a tad better. I haven’t really seen her in all that much, which isn’t really a problem, but with a big release like this one, I wish that someone else was the lead role.

I am not even gonna touch the CGI factor. Just know that there is a ton of it in this movie. Jurassic World is absolutely the movie that the entire world has been waiting for. The effects that you see in this movie are absolutely incredible. Something I really loved about this movie was that it often gave props to the original movie, which I found to be very cool. This is definitely a movie that you have to see in theaters because of the sound and effects. I think that any true Jurassic Park fan will definitely enjoy this to the fullest amount, but if you have never seen the original three, then you may not enjoy it as much. I think this was a really enjoyable movie that gives you all kinds of cool and awesome effects. Two thumbs up from me!

Overall, Jurassic World is the summer blockbuster that everyone has been waiting for. It provides us with entertainment, over-the-top awesomeness and is just simply an enjoyable movie that demands you see it in theaters. I definitely recommend going to see this one!

Grade= B+ (Very Good!)

Hot Pursuit (2015)

This is exactly what I was afraid of! We meet Cooper (Reese Witherspoon), a cop who likes to do everything the correct way. The thing about Cooper is that she is not the brightest one in the bunch an after a bad incident, she finds herself working behind a desk rather than being out on the streets. Cooper is given another assignment and that is to transport a big time drug cartels wife, Daniella (Sofia Vergara) to a witness protection house in Dallas. Cooper is very excited about doing this because she has been out of the action for a little while and this is the perfect opportunity for her to get her feet back on the ground and show her boss that she is capable of being back out on the street. The whole time while Cooper is on the road with Daniella, it seems as if a real friendship may be developing, or is it?

First off, this movie was nothing but a waste of my time. I just want to point that out in the very beginning. Hot Pursuit is a movie that has an incredible amount of problems. To play it short, I really despise this movie and actually really never want to watch it again. I think that I may have laughed three times and to be quite honest it might be less than that. There was just nothing about this movie that showed me that it was good, let alone funny. I think that the script was very poorly written and I think that everything about this was just sloppy and took you in many stupid directions that were never interesting or entertaining. Every laugh in this movie that they aimed for was a complete fail.

The acting in Hot Pursuit is not only dreadful, it’s horrendous. I thought that with the great performance by Reese Witherspoon in Wild, we would start to see some interesting roles and good acting from Reese, but sadly we see nothing but poor acting from her in this movie. As far as Sofia Vergara goes, I think it is best if she just sticks to ABC’s, Modern Family. She seems to have pretty solid humor in that show, but in Hot Pursuit, she shows that her lack of humor makes her a terribly casted actress for this movie. The greatest acting performance in the movie was from Mike Birbiglia and he only shows up for about one minute. Witherspoon and Vergara showed me nothing to think that either of them are the least bit funny.

Everything about this movie just made it completely painful to watch. From the lack of laughs to the horrendous acting, Hot Pursuit falls way short of everything that it aimed for. This was just a poor comedy that shouldn’t even be labeled as a comedy. I can’t even tell you what category this movie should fall into because it doesn’t fit any of them. This movie is just so bad that is makes you feel terrible sorry for everyone that has watched it. This movie is pretty much the equivalent to any new Adam Sandler or Kevin James film. The only outcome we see from those movies are nothing but poorly acted, written and all-around bad movies. This exactly how I felt while watching Hot Pursuit. I definitely do not recommend seeing this one!

Overall, Hot Pursuit is another one of those movies that has nothing good about it at all. This is simply just a bad movie that is in no way funny and one that is forgettable fifteen seconds after it ends.

Grad= D- (Terrible!)

The D Train (2015)

Here’s a movie that just came out today. Dan Landsman (Jack Black) is the chairman of his high school alumni committee. While it is coming up on the both reunion since he graded high school, he wants everyone to RSVP. This is hard because every time he calls people, no one remembers him or they just simply don’t want to go. He feels he needs something huge to convince everyone to come. When he watches television one night, he notices that the coolest guy in high school, Oliver Lawless (James Marsden) is in a huge commercial that is all over tv. Dan wants to get Oliver to come to the reunion so everyone else will want to come. Dan needs to travel to L.A. to convince him to come. While Dan is out there, the two of them party it up and live the dream for the weekend and Dan starts to think that there is a potential serious friendship forming.

The D Train is a very dark comedy that really did not seem all that funny to me. While it did have the occasional laugh, I think that it just was not a laugh out loud comedy the whole movie. I think The D Train started getting a little over-the-top with scenes. To me, it just feels like the movie started running out of ideas of what would be funny and it just started to get very sentimental, which did not work. They tried getting very sentimental towards the second half of the movie and I think that if they steer cleared of doing that, it would have worked out better for the movie. I think this is a movie that had some serious potential, but I didn’t see them do anything with it because of the lack of humor and over-the-top sentimental scenes.

I actually have to I thought some of the acting in this movie was pretty great. Jack Black could have done a little better, but I could not get enough of James Marsden. I thought that he was absolutely awesome and hysterical in this. Jack Black just wasn’t his usual self in this and that really made me upset because I think that when Jack Black is in his right element, he is absolutely hilarious. I just didn’t see that with this movie and I really wish that he could have been better in this. I also loved how they brought Ned Scheenbly into this movie and it was a little reunion between him and Dewey Finn. But acting overall, not all that great and I wish director, Andrew Mogel would have done some things different with this.

The D Train is nothing more than a goofy, comedy that got released just to try to make a lot of money because of the big names that are in it. I can’t really figure out which direction they tried to take with this movie because it really tries to be funny from the start, but then tries overly hard to get serious and sentimental. It just did not work and I felt as if I walked away from this movie with much more disappointment then I did satisfied. The only interesting character that we see in this movie is James Marsden. He really pulled this role off and the rest of the characters left us bored with them and we couldn’t wait to see more of James Marsden. This was just an incredibly dark and dull comedy that didn’t really work.

Overall, The D Train is a movie that is occasionally funny and doesn’t really know if it is trying to make you have a heartfelt moment or make you laugh. This movie was pretty dull and I hope Jack Black does better with his next movie.

Grade= D (Bad)

Get Hard (2015)

Looks like Will Ferrel is the new Adam Sandler! We meet James King (Will Ferrel), a wealthy businessman who is convicted of tax evasion and embezzlement. James did not commit these crimes. His lawyer gives him a plea agreement that will help keep him out of prison for a long time. James decides that he does not want to take the plea because he things the judge will know he did not do this. James decides to go to trial and it does not work out well for him. He is sentenced to ten years at a state prison. James now knows that prison will be very hard for him because he is a rich, white man who knows that he will be horribly abused in prison. James needs some help on how he can survive in prison. He gets the man who washes his car, Darnell (Kevin Hart). Darnell is black and James immediately makes the assumption that he has been to prison before. Darnell has never been to prison a day in his life, but James offers him $30,000 to teach him how to survive there. Darnell knows he cannot pass that kind of money up. Darnell starts to realize that James may be innocent after all and they start to form a bit of a friendship.

Get Hard is a movie that a lot of people were really looking forward to. I know I was definitely one of those people, but I wish I wasn’t. I went into this movie with a lot of high hopes and left completely disappointed. I thought the movie started off very funny, but once they got very into training to survive in prison, it just got less and less funny. I thought Will Ferrel was very bad in this. Maybe his hayday is done and over with, which is very upsetting because he used to be one of my favorite actors. Kevin Hart, as funny as he is, was even pretty bad in this movie. I don’t think that with two very funny people, this movie should have been as bad as it was.

This is the first movie that director, Etan Cohen has directed and it definitely showed. He is more well-known for being a writer. He is the writer of Tropic Thunder, which I really liked. The major thing that starts to fade away from this movie is the most important part, the humor. It just lacks so much of it. I really think this movie could have been way funnier than it was. It almost seemed like it was more about the two just getting a long and becoming best buddies. I did not want to see a movie about two people forming a friendship. I just wanted to go and laugh my ass off at these two funny guys. Sadly, I was not able to do that.

Get Hard is a movie that just goes for the typical racial and vulgar comedy, but they become very repetitive and overused. I like when movies have all that, but they should try to stir up some new jokes and not just rely on the same stuff throughout. That is what I felt this movie did. This movie just becomes very hard to sit through at times and you just wish it would end about an hour in. The last thirty minutes are pretty painful to get through. I definitely do not recommend this movie for you to go to theaters and see. If you want to watch it, wait until it comes out on Netflix. I wouldn’t even pay for this if I were you.

Overall, Get Hard is a movie that starts off pretty funny, but then just gets lazy and boring. This has very poor writing and acting.

Grade= D (Bad)